It’s safe to say 2020 hasn’t opened a lot of doors - apart from presenting a prime opportunity to start dabbling in digital money.
Let’s take a look at the recent events which have helped further propel us along the road to a digital financial future - and what still needs to be done before we can reach our destination.
Steps in the right direction
Banks are on board
You know things are heading in the right direction when the big banks get on board. Realising that bitcoin - the best performing asset of the decade - exists outside the traditional banking infrastructure, banks have decided to get in on the action. Once publicly sceptical of all things crypto, JP Morgan has now begun processing crypto transactions on its platforms, and has plans to launch its very own stablecoin, the JPM Coin.
A similarly promising move came from Goldman Sachs last month, when it brought in a new head of digital assets to help ramp up their crypto operations.
Volatility is probably the main thing that puts people off when it comes to crypto. The rising demand for stablecoins demonstrates this - people ultimately want to avoid risk wherever possible. Stablecoins allow this, whilst also offering all the benefits that digital currencies bring to the table.
Their rise to $9 billion in aggregate value amidst a pandemic goes a long way to suggest they’re beneficial to the crypto cause.
Crypto debit cards
In a similar vein to the abovementioned banking U-turn, payments giants such as Visa, Mastercard and PayPal are starting to actively seek partnerships with crypto exchanges and platforms to help develop crypto-enabled payment solutions.
We’re all aware that the world’s first crypto debit card was introduced by yours truly. The proliferation of similar products indicates that crypto is no longer seen solely as a speculative asset, but as a legitimate means of exchanging value.
Before the true digital age is upon us, crypto debit cards serve the purpose of effectively bridging the existing fiat world with the future digital one.
The US dollar hitting its lowest level in two years thanks to widespread lockdowns has led to an increase in cryptocurrency investments. With a number of US citizens reportedly swapping their stimulus cash for crypto - it seems it’s starting to look like an attractive hedge against the weak USD.
What still needs to happen?
A common, global regulatory framework is still required to get everyone on the same page regarding the value and nature of crypto. Currently viewed and regulated very differently around the world, authorities need to come together and find some common ground in order to avoid fraud and excessive volatility as a result.
One of the main reasons people are hesitant to get involved with crypto is simply that they don’t understand it. The crypto community could do with being a little more inclusive - more could be done to encourage people to learn and participate.
The process of signing up to certain crypto exchanges can also be overly complicated and off-putting. Simplified verification and security procedures may be key to getting more people involved.
Once cryptocurrencies are rendered simple and accessible to anyone and everyone, they’re far more likely to become mainstream.
Once all the big tech giants get in the game, crypto will be just about as far-reaching as it gets.
Facebook’s Libra coin is in the pipeline, Samsung’s Galaxy S10 features a crypto wallet and Google Cloud now embraces blockchain technology. If Apple is next to the party as has been rumoured, it could be game-changing.
So, what do you think? Is mainstream adoption just around the corner or still a way off? Let us know your thoughts!